Monday, September 2, 2013

Summertime Success

Grady's first plane ride
June has been a fun and successful month.  At the same time I've had some demons to fight off.  June 24th, 2011 my boys were born.  I had to celebrate their birthday, and at the same time I have flashbacks of losing Cullen.  What is the proper response to this type of situation?  There isn't any.  Not many people know how it feels or what thoughts you have running around your mind.  
Running in Pasadena, CA

We returned to California to visit family and had a blast.  The much needed vacation also helped me settle my mind.  While in Pasadena, I was able to run through some hilly areas and test out my capability of handling hills.    I had a blast running.  I am back up to over 9 miles on my long runs, even in hilly terrain.  I absolutely loved running there and didn't want to leave.  The scenery is beautiful and the weather was gorgeous.  There wasn't more a runner could ask for.  Well, besides multiple pairs of sneakers and running gear.  I was able to knock out 3 days of running while there, but wish I had more.
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Disneyland/ California Adventure with the kids and Grandma while we were there.   I can't begin to imagine how many miles we covered on foot while inside the park.

I finished the summer on a great note. On August 25th, 2013, I competed in a huge race.  One that has been coming for quite awhile. My competition was fierce, but he put up a good race.  My competition was me.  My first race over a 5K.  I knew it was an instant PR, but I wanted to beat my self doubt.  I wanted to feel that pride in myself as I crossed the finish line to cheering family.  I wanted to do so good.  My family unfortunately couldn't make it.  We decided it would have been too much on the kids to be up and out of the house so early for a couple hour car ride so they could sit in the sun and wait for me.  We decided maybe next year they could join me.  My great friend (Thank you Jen H.) let me crash on her couch the night before so I could get my race packet the day before and not be driving at a crazy hour.

The 38th Annapolis 10 Mile Run- My first race over a 5K

     At about 6:55am we were in the starting line crowd waiting for the run to begin.  the weather couldn't have been more beautiful.  It was cool and there was a lack of humidity, my biggest fear. The pre-race jitters were at their max.  My stomach was churning like I had a butterfly garden in there. I was far enough back from the front so I couldn't hear the starting sounds.  There was just a mass movement forward and a slow jog towards the starting line, and that's when I knew we had begun.  I clicked my Garmin start button and jogged about 10 feet before everyone came to a halt.  The crowds were splitting and causing a jam up because of some puddles.  A few moments later I finally made it over the starting line.  I was on my way, down the driveway of the Naval Academy Stadium and on my way towards the finish.  I could feel the slow gradual increase in altitude as I ran along the city streets.  I knew I was pushing hard in the beginning because I was passing a ton of people.  I made a conscious effort to try to hold back and save energy for the end since thats where the hills were mainly going to be.  In what seemed like no time at all I was running towards downtown Annapolis and up to the first water stop.  It was mayhem.  There were tons of tables and volunteers were yelling "water" or "gatorade".  The volunteer handed me a cup, but it was empty.  She quickly apologized, grabbed another and had me on my way.  Into the beautiful downtown Annapolis we ran.  This large mass of people looking like a stampede running through historically rich streets.  The townspeople were awesome.  They were out on their porches cheering for us.  We had closed their streets down for a couple of hours on an early Sunday morning, but they were still happy to have us there.  I worked my way through the streets feeling the ups and downs of the road.  I felt great.  I rounded the corner and into view I could see the never ending bridge on Rt450.  It just seemed to keep climbing and the peek never seemed to arrive.  My friend told me that her running partner had stuck a crab sticker on a light pole in the middle of the bridge so I kept looking for it.  I must have missed it in the crowds because before I knew it I was coming back down the other side.  Oddly I was feeling great even after the huge bridge.  (Side note:  the winner passed us on the bridge which is about the half way point)

     I followed the pack up another great sized hill into a neighborhood of awesomeness.  People had sat outside in their driveways ringing cow bells for us.  Some played music as we ran by.  Others had even set up tables of water and Gatorade.  There were sprinklers set up to spray out onto the sidewalks and roadways for runners to partake in a mini cooling session.  It was great to see such great support from this community.  We continued out and up another hilly road.  Along the path there was a table set up by a gentleman and his family.  Apparently the cups of what I thought were Gatorade turned out to be beer.  I found out quickly why a lot people weren't really stopping at his house.  They were friendly and all, but beer in the middle of a 10 mile run isn't very good for keeping GU down.  I realized I was more than half way done.  The hills were starting to wear me down finally and the temperatures were also rising.  I made it to the final stretch where we passed a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and were greeted by church goers who lined up to give high fives to the runners.  It was awesome.  Not much further up was a man playing the steel drum singing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds".  And then the Rt 450 Monster returned.  Back across the bridge I had encountered earlier.  It was much, much harder now.  We were being cheered by people with signs.  Some read, "little hill, BIG PRIDE" or "last hill".  I powered up the bridge albeit much slower than coming over it. I beat it.  I was now coming down the bridge.  No more big hills.  I heard people yelling from the sides to encourage some walking down it, "Don't waste a hill".  

     I made it to the final turn before the Navy Stadium and smacked right into a physical wall.  I was so close, yet physically drained.  I pushed myself to the point where I finally broke down and had to walk.  Then a woman how had already finished started yelling, "you got this".  She was cheering for me.  She saw the look of defeat on my face and just this little words, I was rejuvenated.   I could see the trail running into the grass that began the hilly driveway to the finish line.  I sprinted the best I could.  As I reached the finish Line I could see the gun time click off 1:50 mins.   I hit my Garmin stop button.  My time was 1:44 mins and 10.22 miles.  I was thrilled.  Sweating profusely and struggling to breathe, but happy.  My wife had been watching me on the My RoadID app so she could see where I was live.  She called me immediately to congratulate me and tell me how proud she is of me.  She then let me go because she could tell  I was not breathing too hot yet.  I was an emotional mess.  I was tearing up from the pride and the stripping of any self doubt I had at the beginning.  I did it. I went and collected my custom Timex Iron Man watch with the Annapolis 10 Mile Run Logo on it.  I look forward to doing it again next year.  And hopefully I will have a cheering section waiting for me near the finish.  

Courtesy of  Thank you!

Finish Line Pride. 

Miles- 76.82 (June)
           60.67 (July)


  1. This sounds like a truly awesome race! I know how hard you worked for it, and you killed it!!

  2. That is awesome and it sounds like a great race. Way to go for you! I'm glad I got to read about it in more detail.